Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Harvick: Earnhardt "Stunting The Growth Of NASCAR"

Former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick pulled no punches last night when talking about the imminent retirement of fellow driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., saying the sport’s perennial Most Popular Driver “had a big part in stunting the growth of NASCAR” by not winning enough races.
Speaking on his weekly Sirius XM NASCAR Radio show “Happy Hours,” the 2014 series champion said he is puzzled by the popularity of Earnhardt, who has won just nine races in the last 10 seasons.
“He is the most popular driver, but did he have the credentials to back up being the highest paid driver in the sport? Probably not,” said Harvick. He was the most popular driver in the sport (and) he could demand a huge sum of money, because he brought things in from the souvenir side of things and a popularity side of things, that other drivers didn’t. He earned his money a different way. It wasn’t from a performance base.
“This is where some of the growth in this sport has not reached the levels that it should have,” he added. Because our most popular driver hasn’t been our most successful driver.
“When you look at other sports; basketball (and) football -- and you look at their most popular (athletes) -- they’re also right up there at the top of the list as their most successful. So, I believe that Dale Jr. has had a big part in kind of stunting the growth of NASCAR, because he’s got these legions of fans. (He has) this huge outreach, being able to reach different places that none of us have the possibility to reach. But he’s won 9 races in 10 years at Hendrick Motorsports.
“Did we miss a lot of that wave because our most popular driver wasn’t winning?” 
Harvick admitted that “these aren’t the most popular comments,” but insisted “those are real-life facts that you can look up on the stat sheet.”
Harvick said Earnhardt’s massive fan base is “totally confusing to me,” adding that “Jimmie Johnson should be our most popular guy, because he’s won seven championships. But when you look at the souvenir sheets every week, he’s 3-4-5, coming off of a championship year.
“That part is a little bit confusing.”
Harvick said Earnhardt’s late father, Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, Sr. “became Dale Earnhardt because of the fact that he won seven championships and was out there grinding every week. That hasn’t happened (with Junior). The thing that makes sports go around is success. The people… that are the most popular people in other sports, win.”
“Lebron James wins. Steph Curry wins. Peyton Manning won. That’s how you drive the sport and take it to a new level; when your most popular guys are winning, week after week after week. It’s so confusing to me, the whole scenario. I keep bringing up Jimmie Johnson because he’s won seven championships. (We should be) putting him on a pedestal with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, but it’s like that doesn’t even register with everybody out there.”
Harvick also discounted Earnhardt’s recent comments about declining driver salaries, saying, “Dale’s never really been in a position -- since he’s been at Hendrick Motorsports -- to understand where normal driver salaries even are.
“He’s always been the highest-paid guy in NASCAR. He’s been the guy that makes the most money.
“Hendrick Motorsports is about to go through a total reset,” he said. “For years, they’ve had the highest-paid athletes in motorsports on their team. Now, with Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kasey Kahne exiting within a two-year period, it’s a complete re-branding. Sure it’s going to lower the cost. Hendrick Motorsports has had the highest paid drivers for a number of years, with Jeff Gordon and the highest paid driver, Dale Jr.
“(In 2018), they’re going to have some of the lowest payroll with three of their drivers. They’re going to lean on Jimmie Johnson to be the veteran guy and lead the company; teaching those guys how to race. And they’re going to have to pay him more than the other three guys combined, in order to take that role and push Hendrick Motorsports forward.”

89 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Hammer,nail,head.

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  2. NASCAR isn't like stick-and-ball sports. All motorsports is like that: usually the winningest driver isn't popular and the most popular isn't always the winningest. Fans are attracted to personalities.

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    1. Anonymous6:37 AM

      Then why on earth would they be attracted to a carpet bagger. Trader to the sport and history of nascar

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  3. That's a tough opinion to state, but a pretty fair one. The only comment I have concerns equating consistent winning to popularity. UFC fighter Donald Cerrone is under Harvick's management firm, but he can't use the UFC as an example because "Cowboy" is one of the most popular fighters in all of the UFC but not a constant winner. Not all sports follow the pattern he is stating, but many do. Thanks for the write up.

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  4. Anonymous1:58 PM

    I totally understand where he is coming from. But in no way shape from or fashion has Jr. held the sport back. The fan base grew up with Jr. and then he gained some immediately after his fathers death. We are disappointed that he hasn't had the consistent teams and driving it takes to when a championship. This doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. almost 30 wins in cup and 2 championships in Ixfinity series is hardly holding a sport back.

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    1. Anonymous9:08 AM

      He is stating how can he have a fan base other than for his last name because u can really base it of his career in the last 10 years

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    2. I like both Earnhardts because of how they treat others even fans. I do not care for arrogant mouth pieces like Harvick and Johnson. When Jr. is gone I am done with Nascar.

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  5. Kevin is 100% right. I don't think he bad mouth Jr he's just telling it like it is, he's always been like that and some days I don't like Mr Harvick. but I've always liked Jr. Because of his dad he's in this sport and he stayed in this sport because of the fans, and why not he's one of us.

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  6. Harvick sounds a little bitter and envious?

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    1. I dont think so, he's just putting the facts out there, Ive never understood the JR hype either, Ive always thought JR was way over rated, but the same can be said about Kasey.

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    2. Anonymous10:04 PM

      The Jr. hate has always been misdirected. You seem to think that Jr. is to blame for his popularity, when in fact you should all be blaming the media for his popularity. He never asked to be the center of attention of the entire / industry. The media built him up to be the next coming Jesus, but that was never going to be reality because he was never gping to be the savior of the sport or the next Dale Sr. because he was Jr. & was never given the chance to be that because of the media & the fans that bought into the hype THEY created.

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    3. Anonymous10:44 PM

      How so? He has a championship and way more wins.

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    4. I wouldn't say "envious", but I do believe Jr's recent comments about driver salaries hit him like Marie Antoinette wanting the peasants to "eat cake" if they were hungry. I'm not a Harvick fan by any means, but he's spot on in his analysis here.

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    5. Anonymous3:05 AM

      Envious? I hardly think so, he is just stating facts that no one else has the balls to do...

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    6. Anonymous9:10 AM

      Y at least he has a championship under his belt but does Jr nope

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    7. Anonymous11:37 AM

      I am in total agreement with that statement. In most sports you really only remember the winner on the end of season trophy.

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  7. How do YOU know what he earns, no way. Do you tell everybody what you make? Get over yourself...that's why we don't like you. You're worse than "Jaws" ever was...jealous!

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    1. Because it's common knowledge, and public record. Do some research before you come in here spouting off at the mouth. All celebrities earnings are public

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    2. Because that information is public knowledge, that's how. All you have to do is "google" it. Do some research before spouting off at the mouth, sweetie

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  8. David R Wall3:54 PM

    Excessive whining leads to excessive failure, congrats Kevin you just joined the ranks of biggest loser. Jr. had more weight to carry than you will ever know about. It's good to know that you are right and the fans are wrong again!

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    1. Anonymous9:21 PM

      I don't think Harvick is the loser,,he has won a championship,,,has Jr.?????nope..

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    2. Moparjeff2:54 PM

      More weight to carry that you will ever know? Did you forget that Kevin drove Dale Sr's car after he died? Arguably more weight that Dale Jr.

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    3. I would remind you that Harvick underwent some pretty tough scrutiny following Dale Sr.'s tragic demise. Kevin was appointed to drive the car of the driver who was the face of the sport...Harvick had been expected to carry on the team's winning ways and scored the emotional victory the third race he drove the car! He said what he feels--just like everyone else is doing here; the ONLY difference is that "Apparenly, not-so-Happy" Harvick straps on a helmet to go to work as a NASCAR Cup driver; Up to this point, Kevin has 10 more wins in the series than Jr. does! With the way the #88 team has been performing this year, winning 10 of the next 14 races to tie or exceed tha number is a statistical impossibility. This sport is one that does NOT reward performance vs. popularity )but it should!)...you can claim all you want that racing is different than "other" sports but rewarding personality over performance just ain't right!

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  9. I think someone is bitter and it is not Earnhardt Jr. Harvick just dropped a little in my eyes.

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    1. Anonymous11:42 AM

      Nascar should be about winners and top performers not just drivers.

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  10. Very interesting comments on Harvicks part. I don't think he's necessarily wrong per say in how it is unfair that Johnson doesn't have near the fanbase with as many accomplishments as he has. Though blaming the stunting of NASCAR on Earnhardt Jr, who never asked for the adoration of Jr. Nation seems a little harsh?

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  11. Anonymous5:47 PM

    Sorry but Harvick has carried the same weight Jr did. He stepped in the #3 after Sr died, that is the biggest weight of all time....

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    1. I disagree completely. He did carry weight, but no where near the amount Jr did. Car number changed, different paint scheme, but Jr carried the name.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Harvick in NO way compares to what Jr has had to deal with!One only had to drive the 3 car with NO expectations coming in,he was just a filler,never expected to be like Earnhardt Sr,and than one being THE blood of the late Dale Earnhardt,and A LOT looking to him to carry the Earnhardt legacy,to be just like him, and take up the status his dad held in the sport...to carry a sport he never asked to do. Yeah,suuuure,Harvick had the biggest weight,pllllease!!

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    4. Anonymous9:53 PM

      Sorry, I don't ever remember Harvick driving a #3 car. I seem to remember a white #29 that RCR brought to Rockingham in a attempt to distance themselves from the #3 as much as they could. Harvick carried the weight of RCR, Jr. carried the weight of the entire sport.

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    5. Anonymous11:19 PM

      Dale was not the one to tell the race track owners to build more stands, Dale was not the one to tell the smaller track owners sorry your too small for us, Dale did not create these crazy TV deals, The economy hit nascar just like all the other sports. Earnhardt Jr is a great ambassador of the sport.

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    6. Anonymous11:24 PM

      Driving dales car and bein his son is totally different comparison. People expected Jr to be Sr and it's impossible to live up to that. Harvick was never compared to The Man the way Jr has been. Jr lived in a huge shadow and while I like Kevin he only inherited a ride bc of his death. Jr carried this sport wins or not. Ok Happy wasn't all that in Srs car anyway. His success came when he went to SHR. Stats back that up too

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    7. Harvick did not step in to the 3 he stepped in to the 29 to fill the stable of RCR cars not the 3 Harvick has whined his way thru so many screw ups on the tracks and for some reason got a free pass on them all the way he is a jealous fool not worthy of a drivers title

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    8. Exactly. Thanks. Jr was not his dad and fans expected him to be. Kevin is friends with Jr. And Kevin has always spoke his mind that's why NASCAR hates him and Tony wanted him. He is not a puppet or became a puppet for NASCAR to sell tix and merchandise. Jr was smart though to be blunt he ran with his name and cashed in and that's brilliant in my book. He was right to leave DEI bc she was driving it in the soil even fighting in court with sr other kid over his own name on building projects. Aka the Earnhardt collection.
      Kevin is just saying what others are afraid too. That's why even if sr hasn't passed he was gonna be signed anyway and was hand picked by Earnhardt sr himself.

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    9. Anonymous10:13 AM

      Living up to your father's legacy is MUCH harder than being the driver picked to follow another driver. Not diminishing Kevin's burden stepping into that car. That pressure was immense.

      It was nothing compared to trying to carry on the family name years before you thought you'd have to. Not even close to the same weight.

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  12. My reactions to Harvick's epistle -

    Jimmie Johnson's reputation as Herb Fishel's next designated champion with Chevrolet is perhaps the largest reason he is not particularly popular with NASCAR's fanbase. If he'd won titles with a non-Hendrick non-RCR non-DEI Chevrolet team like Morgan-McClure - or had been allowed to sign with a Dodge team or even Ford team - I suspect he'd have earned more popularity than he has. As it is now I doubt fan dislike of Johnson will ever be erased.

    Harvick's comparison to Lebron James and Peyton Manning is a little misleading because James doesn't win as much as people think he does and Peyton Manning was notorious as the weakest playoff quarterback (fourteen playoff wins in twenty-seven playoff starts; he barely escaped finishing his career with a losing playoff record) in the NFL since Dan Marino. Manning's popularity was also aided because he had in Tom Brady a bitter rival in every sense of the term - playing styles, competition environments (dome team vs. outdoor team), and most importantly championship drive.

    When Harvick suggests the sport missed a lot of popularity because Dale Junior wasn't winning that much, he's only partly right - the sport has missed more than just Junior wins, it has suffered because over a entire generation of engaging and talented drivers for one reason or another wasn't able to ascend to championship status. Competitive depth is what the sport has needed more than just one guy winning more races than he has.

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  13. Here is what Kevin is saying, and the most diehard Jr fans will admit.. Where the sport be if Dale Jr would of won 4 championships at this point in his career, and had say 45-55 wins? The sport would be ALOT healthier if its most popular driver was performing like stated above

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  14. Big Sr. fan, love Jr., respect Harvick for his talent and accomplishments. Kevin only said what a dozen other top tier drivers are probably thinking right now. Let's see if he sticks to his guns or backs down like he did when he called out Childress and his grandsons. His words were correct then and they are now. The whole "most popular" thing is total BS anyway. So Sr. outsold everyone else 3:1 in merchandise because he was unpopular? Funny part is I don't think Jr. cares. He seems to be fine in his own skin and with what he has done on the racetrack. Jr. called out his other veteran buddies for being overpaid on the weekend and Harvick is front and center to let Jr. know as Kyle Petty said "god knows the sun won't come up tomorrow if Jr. isn't happy".

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  15. As an Earnhardt fan I have no problem with what Harvick said. Jr has underperformed throughout his tenure with Hendrick.

    NASCAR Like many sports is suffering from declining attendance and not one of them can pinpoint a direct cause an effect of why it's happening. I believe this would happened even if Jr won a championship or two.

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  16. As an Earnhardt fan I have no problem with what Harvick said. Jr has underperformed throughout his tenure with Hendrick.

    NASCAR Like many sports is suffering from declining attendance and not one of them can pinpoint a direct cause an effect of why it's happening. I believe this would happened even if Jr won a championship or two.

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  17. Anonymous7:51 PM

    How's he jealous when he states Jimmie should be the face of the sport, not himself? Typical idiot Jr. fan, apparently.

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  18. Anonymous8:23 PM

    NASCAR can't replace Jr. As great as JJ is he isn't Jr. It has NOTHING to do with talent. It has everything to do with perception. When Dale Sr. passed in 2001 the ONLY person who could carry his gauntlet was his son. The fans knew it. Hendricks knew it. NASCAR knew it. Mr. Happy should not have put his foot in his mouth simply because it will be hard enough to retain a VAST MAJORITY of Jr's fans after his next race. You can claim till the cows come home they just aren't 'real' race fans. But after Sr. passed I became a fan of Dale Jarrett until he retired in 2008. It's been hard trying to find someone to be a fan of since then.

    The current crop of drivers (Jr. included) just don't have the brashness and style the drivers of the 80's and 90's had. I personally have skipped a couple of races on TV this season and went to the movies instead. NASCAR just isn't as much fun to watch as it used to be. And Jr leaving won't make it better.

    Pistonhead in Texas

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  19. Rich daddy's and corp sponsors are willing to pay the team for kids to drive their cars . Anyone notice they dont publish the purse or explain how much drivers make anymore ? Less talent less money paid greedy owners and Nascar keep it all . A very good driver that lost his job ( I wont mention his name in true Nascar form) was winninh races and moved to a field filler. He was paid 10k a race and had to pay his way to and from the races and for his accomidations . Do really believe Nascar has 40 or eh , 38 sometimes of the best drivers in the world ........bwhahahahahahaha !

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  20. Kentucky tom9:02 PM

    Well if Jr held the sport back next year the grandstands should be full.Not going to happen Harvick Over 60% of the fans attending races are there for Jr win or loose

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  21. Well he will be gone next season so I can't wait to see how much you and your other Madison ave. drivers grow the sport I guess getting a ticket next year will be virtually impossible now that Jr is gone

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  22. I notice he didn't his team mate Danica in that same light. Talk about not earning their place.

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  23. Anonymous10:48 PM

    I don't completely agree with Harvick but if Jr. wasn't the most popular driver would the seats he fills on race day would they be empty. I don't know but in the past with Earnhardt Sr.,Petty and other drivers who was popular during time filled seats. Jr. fill seats

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  24. NASCAR fans look past winners and look at the man driving the car, his character, personality,and how he gives back continually!

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  25. I doubt KH is bitter or envious of anyone. He's won a Cup championship and 10 more Cup races than Jr. He's building his own successful legacy, and I'm not even a fan of his. But I like his outspokenness and involvement in making NASCAR better. I think his criticism is more toward's Jr's fan base. After Sr's death, so many of his fans transferred their allegiance to Jr, and expected him to continue the family legacy, which was an impossible and unfair burden on Jr. It didn't work out. As far as the all time popularity, I understand his confusion since JJ has equaled Sr's championship total at 7, and JJ has nowhere near the appreciation for achieving that feat that Sr did. He basically did it in a completely opposite waty. It's all about the branding. I know it's apples to oranges because I'm comparing an indiviual in a sport to a different sport franchise, but, the Dallas Cowboys haven't won a championship in 22 years, and they are the world's most valuable franchise, and certainly the USA's most popular franchise. Nevertheless, there are some parallels.

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  26. Anonymous11:54 PM

    "Growth? What growth? All I've seen since the inception of "The Chase" has been regression, and that's been WITH Gordon & Stewart & Junior & Edwards & Martin.....and let's not even talk about sponsor losses/cutbacks. Target, Home Depot, Go Daddy, DeWalt, Stanley, Interstate, Farmers, etc. You can throw in three Title Sponsors in 13 years too. Can't dump all this on Junior. How about laying this all at the feet of Brian france, where it belongs!

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    1. Since 1971 there has been 3 sponsors: Winston (1971 - 2003), Nextel/Sprint (2004 - 2016), and Monster (2017- ?). So where do you get 3 sponsors in 13 years? Sprint bought Nextel, so that doesn't count as 2, sorry.

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  27. I have always been a 48 fan and I know working for Lowe's might have a little something to do with it, but for the life of me, I could never understand the Jr Nation loyalty. Once his dad died, I think he lost the true drive to be competitive. Whether it was the rejection from his step mom from DIE, a bit of fear of pushing beyond the envelope after his dad's crash or being the 3rd wheel at HMS and never living up to expectations, all seemed to take a toll on a guy who could never live up to his dad's reputation.

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  28. I doubt KH is bitter or envious of Jr. He's won a Cup championship and 10 more Cup races than Jr. He's building his own successful legacy, and I'm not even a fan of his. But I like his outspokenness and involvement in making NASCAR better. I think his criticism is more toward's Jr's fan base. After Sr's death, so many of his fans transferred their allegiance to Jr, and expected him to continue the family legacy, which was an impossible and unfair burden on Jr. It didn't work out. As far as the all time popularity, I understand his confusion since JJ has equaled Sr's championship total at 7, and JJ has nowhere near the appreciation for achieving that feat that Sr did. For whatever it's worth though, it's all about the branding. I know it's apples to oranges because I'm about to compare an individual in a sport to a different sport franchise, but, the Dallas Cowboys haven't won a championship in 22 years, and they are the world's most valuable franchise, and certainly the USA's most popular franchise. Nevertheless, there are some parallels.

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  29. Good grief! It's obvious that Junior's fans follow him because they like him as a person, regardless of what happens on the track. Trying to blame the guy for Nascar's failure is ridiculous. Guess he hasn't had enough to carry all these years? Maybe the problem is that Harvick wouldn't drive the #3, and left it to one of the Dillon boys? Or let's blame Sr. for dying at Daytona. Or maybe the silly 'chase'/playoff format and now even more convoluted points system....and you thought Latforrd was complicated?

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  30. Anonymous2:22 AM

    Harvick has no personality. I am not even a Jr fan but this is jealousy talking
    Another whiner.

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  31. Kevin, love your show, but Stunting the growth of Nascar, for real. He may not be the driver with the most wins but he has certainly had his share over his career. Jr along with Kyle Bush have probably been the most influential of all in adding to the growth of Nascar by giving our young drivers the opportunity to showcase their driving abilities and talent enabling them to move on ip in Nascar. I wouldn't say that was stunting the growth of Nascar would you?

    Glennys from Texas

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  32. Anonymous2:56 AM

    Junior's popularity was consistent and not track performance driven because you always knew that when Junior stepped up to the mike you were going to hear a candid, honest and thoughtful response. You were also going to be sharing his emotion. This tendency on his part is sorely missing in Nascar with nearly 100% plain vanilla safe responses by the average driver. Junior's popularity comes from his genuine relatability.

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  33. Anonymous5:35 AM

    I think Mr.Harvick is a little jealous Hendrick Motorsports didn't look sign him ! Probably because that resentment would upset the "Apple cart " they didn't want ! I think because of his comments about everybody is where he is and he think he deserves more !Harvick now older will have be satisfied with the fan base he has and stop crying about him not having the best and stop crying !!!!!

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  34. Anonymous6:58 AM

    I'm not sure how valid his theory is but it's certainly an interesting theory. I think Jr.'s fans have stuck with him but perhaps with more success he'd have brought in more fans (although, as pointed out Johnson's success hasn't brought in many new fans). Personally, and I think most fans agree, it's Brian France and his constant tinkering with the product that has been holding the sport back. All signs were pointed up when he took over and there was nothing wrong with the product. The only thing he accomplished was alienating the fan base. Personally, I've felt like fans have been at war with the sanctioning body since he's taken over.

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  35. Anonymous7:35 AM

    Yeah well said Kevin,Earnhardt jr fans can't handle it be prepared to be insulted they're used to losing so they can't handle the truth LOL

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  36. Friday jr8:10 AM

    The reason Jr has so many fans is his story. Human intrest is what drives the fans. Humans are interested in Jr. They feel a connection to him because of his story. Not a fan of any driver in particular but Jr has handled his career with so much grace and humility. Most sports are based on talent but Nascar will die without more human interest.

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  37. This probably won't get posted as usual, but here goes anyway; You can tell how bad things are getting in this sport by statements like this. They are starting to eat their own, lol. However, it is hard to argue with Kevin's point. I don't believe there is any question that more fans would have stayed engaged if Dale Jr. had been more successful. I think they would have helped counterbalance people like me who feel like he has ridden his Dad's coattails to where he is. Now before Dave starts yelling at me about his 26 wins and 2 Daytona 500 trophies, I know all that. He just does not have the hardware to justify his popularity.

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  38. Anonymous10:47 AM

    I think Harvick has a right to his opinion, and to be confused by how the most popular driver is picked. However, to blame Jr for the stunted growth of Nascar is simply BS just because he is most popular. Someone already pointed this out, but motorsports fans are drawn to personalities. Did anyone blame Bill Elliott for stunting Nascar's growth when he was voted most popular for 16 years? The answer to that is NO. Before anyone jumps to his record, I know he won a championship in 88(ish) and he has more wins than Jr, but Elliott was voted most popular driver because he has a good personality, same as Jr.

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    1. Bill Elliot definitely deserved "Most Popular Driver", but he also he was picked as most popular was he won 44 races and a Cup championship, unlike Jr. Not taking away from JR, but if Jr didn't have the name, he wouldn't have near the number of "Most Popular" titles.

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  39. Harvick totally misses the point. Showing why,he himself will never even come close to being in the same zipcode as Dale Jr. In a sport where each week there is only 1 winner and 39 losers, you had better have more than "winning" on your resume. Dale Jr. has that in spades and Harvick and so many others don't.

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  40. Only reason Harvick had any success in the 29 car was they were all Sr set ups

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  41. The only reason Harvick had any success in the 29 car was they were all Sr set ups

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  42. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Something tells me Harv is upset about Jr's comments on overpaid drivers.

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  43. Anonymous1:39 PM

    If you think that his "Nation" of fans are delusional, all you need to do is look at Oakland Raider fans, we are the same way about them. It's called loyalty

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  44. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Maybe because the fans did not flock to the #3 with him driving it has caused a little jealousy. I am a Dale fan, so much that I watch the qualifying, tape NASCAR America and The Hub. Kept a log of 25 drivers starting and ending position and also for several years a log of just Dale Jr, start, finish and reason if wrecked or mechanical problems. Next year my husband said he will be happy that my interest in NASCAR will go from a fanatic to just a casual fan. No more planning functions around race day. Don't get me wrong, I will watch selected races now and then such as the Daytona 500 and a few others that usually have pretty good racing. But truthfully, watching little kids and not men race is really not something I enjoy. I am really sorry to see so many of the "old" drivers leaving at one time. Yes, change is always in sports, but in this case there are a lot of good mature drivers leaving too soon. As for Dale stunting the growth, don't think so. There are a lot of his fans that fill the seats, in my case, not even sure if I will stick with the Hendrick drivers, only young ones that interest me in watching is Ryan Blaney and of course Chase Elliott. But they will never "grab" me like Dale Jr did. Maybe it was the look on his face after the 2001 race and running down the track, maybe it was that he seems like such a nice man, whatever, no other driver will ever come close to my following Dale's career or the way I felt when he wrecked or had mechanical problems. NASCAR will survive as other sports, but this is one fan who will be a casual fan.

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  45. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Except Harvick never did drive the #3, I always wanted to see Jr drive the#3, but Richard Childress didn't let the # go until his grandson came aboard.

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  46. some of his popularity is due to Jr. being Jr....he's genuine, likable, and cares about people....people can connect to hiim.

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  47. Jr. has fans because he is Jr....meaning they may have started due to Sr. but they stayed due to the fact that Jr. is genuine, cares about people and people can identify with that and connect with him on a "personal" level. Harvick does souond whinny,... most people know Jr.'s name in and out of the sport, which should set Nascar ahead not back.

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  48. Anonymous3:34 PM

    I disagree with Harvick he's my 2nd favorite driver but In my opinion Jr has been a huge asset to the sport what has hurt the sport is the racing itself is not like it use to be and the fact that it costs so much just to be able to go to the race now and just keeps climbing the economy sucks paychecks just don't stretch like they use to

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  49. I, myself have always Questioned if Dale Jr had a different last name, would he have been able to stay in Nascar as long as he has? I've always felt, he somewhat ridden on his last name.

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  50. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Although parts of his statements are factual, his largest misstep is how one gets fans. We fans look at a lot more than on track performance, it's about the driver on and off the track. For that reason alone is why Mr Harvick will never be at the top of the fan base. Arrogance is never appealing to anyone

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  51. Anonymous4:24 PM

    Harvick who is he ? 1. a racer who came up the hard way barley making it into the sport. 2.always had a big mouth that was more talk than action. 3. Heck of a driver who can win on any given day. 4. Has paid his dues in the sport. So what can we say about Harvick got guts will say what he feels and that's ok.

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. Who is he ? The son of one of the best in the sport of Nascar. 2. Over came the lose of his father on the track still racing. 3. He's not like most of the other top drivers he respects his fans and other drivers. 4. Had to deal with a stepmother who was out to take everything from the Earnhardt boys and their sister. 5. Kelp his life free from bad news reports while in the sport. 6. His fans and even fans of Harvick and other drivers like him, 7. The list of things that could be said about Dale Jr. would is too long to list here. 8. That the number that he drove the number I drive now for over forty five years. He's the grandson and son of the sports best drivers of their times not just in the seat of the race car but in the hearts of fans. The sport has lost some great drivers now the sport is losing one person who has help the sport for the last 16 years. If no other Earnhardt become a star in the sport Nascar will suffer. When Harvick retires will be missed like Dale Jr. I don't think so.

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  52. wow I smell a lot of Jr. fans crying because their guy got called out . not surprising but I have had a theory on this type of driver for years, long before jr crashed all those late models the only reason he got a cup ride is because he is dale jr. it was definitely not based on talent if it was he never would have had a Busch ride let aloe cup. he like some others got in on a legacy and rode the coat tales of some great drivers and you should know them all Michael Waltrip, Brett and Todd Bodine , Mike and Kenny Wallace . 5 good guys but limited on talent taking seats where a truly talented driver who was under funded goes unnoticed. Jr did bring something different to the table large sponsor dollars so the company overlooks the talent flaw to gain the major sponsor when jr became a part of DEI and Budweiser came with it was the biggest sponsorship in cup history 15 million a year he and fellow competitor Danica Patrick have that in common huge sponsorships for below star quality on track performance. im glad hes gone this year let some real talent drive alex bowman will do more in that car than jr ever did.

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  53. Anonymous6:08 PM

    While I'm not a chevy fan I do like Ernhadt.im glad he is retiring because he's still young and can be alot of help teaching others. He has pride and it looks good on him.wishing him a great future.

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  54. It's the CARS!!!! COOKIE CUTTER cars....no fussing- on or off track or they go to "the principal's office".
    Dale Sr. was the driving force of getting sponsors and souvenirs...
    Dale Jr. HAD the WEIGHT of being able to WIN...maybe not Championships, but then, so MANY CONSTRAINTS from the FRANCE dynasty.
    Let Harvick and Jr "rum run" and see who wins!!!

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  55. Anonymous6:26 PM

    I'm not a chevy fan .However I do think Erngardt Jr has given alot more to nascar than Harvick. Wishing him a great retirement . He's still young and can bring younger drivers along.Best wishes jr.

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  56. Anonymous6:39 PM

    I know this is going make a lot of jr fans mad but hes only polular because of his last name.

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  57. I completely agree with you! Kevin is jealous of Jr. Jr acknowledges his fans unlike Kevin

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  58. Anonymous10:59 PM

    Not quite he did not lose a father get stab by his step mom lose what his dad build have to maje his own way what made xake jr man Harvick us cry baby along with bush and Johnson while I do not care for any of them even if jr winning France NASCAR would still mess up beyong what I was raised on

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  59. Anonymous4:17 AM

    And Harvick just helped kick nascar in the teeth by putting his mouth where it should not be and that is worrying about what another driver is paid and it sounds as if he is jealous.I am an earnhardt fan and wish he had done much better but taken all facts into the whole ordeal of losing his dad,going through the injuries and family turmoil I could see some things maybe got into his path.But Harvick needs to try to get those fans and have some of the fans get to like him instead of being judgemental of another driver as earnhardt did not hold the sport back.I feel taking the racing out of the drivers hands and telling them hey were getting too rough boys,WELL I love to see the drivers battle for what they get and not just get the pass because the air flowed over just right or someone slid up too far.Come on let's take some restrictions off these cars and let the drivers bend a door or quarter panel to move the car from his path and I feel these empty seats will get filled again.people dont want to go watch these cars follow each other around,I know our local fans gets wound up when we race hard door to door and move or be moved.Rubbin is racing and nascar will see this is what people want to see.

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  60. Harvick is right and I couldn't agree more.

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  61. Anonymous11:44 PM

    Harvick will never be most popular. Crap like this shows why. Him and Whiney Kyle Busch would make a good girl fight

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  62. Junior would never have made it past his local late division if he wasn't an Earnhardt. Elliott, Dillon, Blaney, Petty, Burton, Labonte, Waltrip and a dozen others got breaks and rides a kid like Bubba Wallace would never get. It's this nepotism this ruins NASCARS reputation as a having truly the top drivers out there competing. What are the chances of Tom Brady's son, Arron Rogers kids or other getting to a marquee NFL slot. Zero. NASCAR is the talented ones who survived the climb mixed in with the privileged ones stayed in the familiar business.

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